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The Chaos Mini-Series

Welcome to my chaotic life of FIVE small children and a traveling husband! This blog is actually a "work in progress" and serves as a loose outline for a humorous non-fiction book I strive to publish by the end of this calendar year. Each entry builds upon the one just prior to it so it is best to begin with Part I. This story begins just four short years ago when a tsunami of unfortunate, tragic and hectic events brutally pounded us one right after another. As my family and I endured and eventually overcame each wave of misfortune, we kept our heads (barely) above water and held high, eyes wide open and hearts on "stand by" as we witnessed new opportunities and blessings emerge from the CHAOS...

Monday, March 29, 2010

Relearning the Basics...As the Brain Reclaims it's Territorial Rights, Part VIII

Well, I survived the fragile post-op 48 hour period without dying from an infection so that was a good thing. However, hoards of pestering residents were now tirelessly parading in and out of my tiny room day and night from all hospital units asking me to perform the same coordination, dexterity, vision, hearing and vocal exams over and over again.

I could barely open my eyes as they were so heavy and swollen. When I tried, the dimly-lit hospital lights flooded directly into my eyes and felt as though someone were shining high-powered stadium lights directly into my tortured pupils. Also, the eyes were so unfocused, that I was seeing double for about a week after surgery and could not achieve clarity. It was like a seven day severe hangover, the room was spinning out of control and it was total murder.

My mouth was also traumatized and twisted to boot so the proposition of opening it to take in water or food was absolutely ludicrous. My mother and aunt had to spoon-feed me crushed ice chips the first three days out to somehow hydrate me. And by now, the little guy inside my womb was coming out of his anesthesia-induced slumber and was beginning to stir about. Certainly he was wondering why he hadn’t gotten fed in four days.

Finally by Day 4 I was transforming back into a human being albeit a very deranged, dysfunctional and handicapped one. I had to get used to drinking and eating with a half-functional mouth. Approximately fifty percent of everything I attempted to ingest went in through the right side and subsequently slipped right out of the limp, lethargic, paralyzed left side so that I resembled a sloppy Saint Bernard each time I ate or drank. I could not completely close the mouth to chew so besides being totally embarrassed by bad manners, I ended up wearing all my meals and beverages on my shirt just like my toddler-aged children.

My eyes were now attempting to converge but the left one could not blink or close on its own. Thus, it remained exaggeratedly wide open and I looked like a harrowing Cyclops. I literally had to pull the lid closed like a manual window shade prior to sleeping each night. The tear duct didn’t work either, (and to this day it still does not,) so I constantly needed to lubricate it with drops or the regular circulating air would strike my eye and feel like an Egyptian desert sand storm blowing directly into it. It was extremely uncomfortable to say the very least.

I had not dared to walk because I did not trust my vision to keep me upright. The ENT surgeon who operated on me, (who by the way my mother had the biggest crush on,) along side the neurosurgeon, stopped by for a visit on Day 5 and insisted I attempt to take a few steps and that he would assist me like some sort of seeing eye dog should I need support. (He was not going to sign my hospital release anyway until I was walking on my own.) I obliged and for the first twenty minutes felt as though I were trying to balance inside some sort of funny house with one of those moving, slanted tunnels with all sorts of crazy mirrors and optical illusions.

The interesting thing about the six day hospital recovery (which also persisted for the following month,) was that all of the five physical senses most healthy normal individuals are blessed with, namely; vision, hearing, touch, smell, and taste, were completely impaired and not operating properly. I had to re-learn how to use them all over again as they were all temporarily (permanently for some) out of service as a result of removing this gigantic mass from my brain. Additionally, my coordination, dexterity and gross motor skills were at the level of a one year old baby so I had to be assisted in all activities and was as dependent as a nursing infant upon my caretaker, my selfless mother.

She literally taught me how to walk, eat, drink, hear, see, speak, and bathe myself again. Thank you Mom. I don’t think I ever really expressed my deepest most sincere gratitude to you for allowing my husband the peace of mind to return to our three children knowing that you were there to nurse me back toward the road of independence. In a sense, she and I were thrown back into time, and reliving part of my formative years when as a new mother, she had taught me basic life skills.

We walked and walked and walked until I gained my strength back. I got a nifty patch for my cyclopstic eye so as not to frighten pedestrians and wreak havoc. Yes, things were indeed coming together nicely until we moved into the suburbs for the remainder of the recovery period and that is when the panic attacks began…

To Be Continued...

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